Being a grown up…

…and how I am really bad at it.

First off, sorry it has been a month since I managed to put fingers to keys and write anything. A lot has happened in the past few weeks, mostly good, some bad, and nothing that I intend to dwell on for long.

The main news is that, after months of wrangling, foot stamping and form signing, I now have a job (woop) and the incredibly messed up sleep schedule that comes with shift work.

Hence the prolonged silence.

Not that I am complaining, I am loving work and I still walk in to the new office and think “wow, I work here, that’s amazing.”

There are various blog posts milling around my head at the moment, vying for attention like children trying to be picked first in class.

In my half befuddled state, however, I am incapable of putting most of the more complicated ones in to words.

Well, I could put them in to words, but those words probably wouldn’t make sense or be in the correct order.

I haven’t really been working long enough to write anything about that other than ‘ahhhhhhhh, why do people think I know what I’m doing?’ and another post which will come about as close to writing about politics as I am ever likely to get on here is probably best left until I can form sentences without having to check if I’ve used a verb or not.

As I write this, it is about 6.30pm, a thunderstorm is raging around my building, I have been up for slightly more than three hours, and I am wondering when it will be a reasonable time to go back to bed.

It reminds me so much of university that I have decided to finally come clean and write about a fraud I have been perpetuating since I graduated nearly five years ago.

Are you ready?

I am not a real adult and I have no idea what I am doing most of the time.

Seriously, I spend much of my day blagging my way through life and hoping no-one notices that I basically have no idea what is going on.

I am also constantly wondering when someone will catch me out and realise I don’t understand how tax works and I can’t tell the difference between types of wine and I would be perfectly happy building a pillow fort or climbing trees.

I think a major road block on my path to becoming a grown up is the fact that I don’t like muesli.

As a kid, I remember looking at the glass jar of muesli in our kitchen cupboard, with its heavy top that I couldn’t remove, and being vaguely aware that it was ‘for the grown ups.’

I would contentedly tuck in to Rice Crispies or Cornflakes (or their sugary alternatives Coco Pops and Frosties depending on how amenable my parents were feeling) and eye the jar of muesli with half a mind on my glorious future as an erudite adult. (I probably didn’t think the word erudite.)

Then I got to be an adult in the strictest, chronological, sense of the word and realised that muesli is basically bits of cardboard with fruit added in an attempt to fool people into thinking it is food and I would much rather be able to get away with eating something that makes the milk go chocolatey.

And yet I still buy it, just like I pay a mortgage and have boiler insurance and cook healthy meals. Because that’s what people do.

You remember at 10 or 11 when you started ‘big school’ and you looked at all the cool kids in sixth form who didn’t wear uniform and had a common room and were really together and smart and mature?

And then you got to be one of those kids and you wondered when you would start being really together and smart and mature? But you didn’t want anyone to know you weren’t so you just kind of acted cool and hoped no-one would notice.

That’s how I feel all the time.

And around me, everyone else seems to be taking growing up in their stride.

I look at my friends who are getting married and having children and doing all those things and genuinely marvel at the fact they are capable of looking after a whole other human when I occasionally lose my cat.

Somehow, though, I seem to be able to keep alive the myth that I am responsible.

So if you see me, suited and booted, carrying a handbag, wearing glasses and heading for the newsroom, be safe in the knowledge that not 20 minutes earlier I was dancing around my bedroom in flares and a superhero t-shirt, secretly craving coco pops.

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12 thoughts on “Being a grown up…

  1. D’you know what, Flip, I feel like this every day.
    Don’t students know I’m only human? When will they rumble me? I don’t feel more grown-up now than when I was 18! Hopefully that’s a good thing, though.

  2. Man I feel the same way too… Most of the time I feel lost. All my friends in college have cool jobs now and are either successful or have kids. I took up culinary arts as my second degree and graduated second in my class but I’m still not working in that industry. People ask me why I still don’t have any children yet. Their brows shut up in the air if I tell them that I am not yet ready. Even my siblings laugh at me because I’d rather play with my teddy bears than have kids (well teddys are easy, they don’t need to be fed and washed and they love you unconditionally).

    I feel stuck in my job (I work in the call center industry, I’m a technical support rep for HP-MAC). I hate this job already but still do it. Been doing it for seven years now. Because it pays well and I can afford all my bills. I’m torn between following my dreams and being hungry and doing this sucky job but living comfortably.

    Don’t feel lost. Everyone out there yearns to bring out the child in them; but they are just too scared to do so. Playing in your superhero shirt is pretty cool. You show the world that being an adult is just a number and being a child is an attitude. Kudos to us forever young!

  3. Reblogged this on Geeky Gourmet and commented:
    Read this post and felt the same way as Flip (the author) did. Life forces us to grow up. Being childlike is not a trait the society approves of. But there is a child in all of us. Might as well live life a child and be happy than try to be an stiff adult all the time!

  4. Dude, you pay your bills and you live on your own and you have a job. That is adult enough for me. We grow up in certain parts of our life because we have to, but we dont need to be that way in every part. I always found those type of people boring and ready to run away from life. And they are 95% of the time unhappy.

    Keep doing what you are doing. Keep dancing around in your superhero shirt eating sugar cereal. If you ever end up having kids they will just join you. 🙂

  5. Brilliant. I think anyone worth their salt feels like a fraud at least some of the time; it’s the folk who never pause to question their capabilities one has to watch out for in this world (because most of them become politicians). It’s all a performance and confidence is just a trick. But I think you’re right about the cereal: it is definitely significant / symbolic / symptomatic of something… 🙂

    • Maybe muesli was designed to divide those who are really mature and responsible and know what they are doing and those who are just faking it to a mild undercurrent of panic…

  6. Observation from a few years down the road: You can safely assume that most people feel like this at some point every day. Leaving home, starting work, getting married, having kids, getting promoted. The clever ones just do a better job of hiding it.

    “Fake it till you make it” is so many people’s secret mantra it will blow your mind.

    It’s like Wile E Coyote running off that cliff; you’ll only notice it’s not there if you look down. So don’t!

  7. I read your post and I was nodding all the way thinking how you’ve put into words the dilemma of being one foot in the world of grown ups. Do you ever struggle to view your current life as anything but temporary? Coz sometimes I feel like I’m waiting for real life to happen and forgetting that what I’m up to now is not a series of unrelated, random acts. It is actually life. Not a dress rehearsal. So my final take away from your post is that faking a sense of assurance is one way to get by in the world of grown ups. But ultimately you have to seize life and join the march before it passes you by. The (sometimes) fun part is getting to do it on your own terms.

    • I figure ‘being a grown up’ is just whatever people over the age of about 25 do. If we all just carry on as we are than that has to become the definition eventually…

  8. How did I miss this post? It’s fabulous! I’m glad that I am not the only one affected by Peter Pan Syndrome. It felt all funny to see my feelings as a sixth former written down logically. I’ve now decided that it’s much better for me and my family to keep on being a fake grown up… much more fun!

    • Haha, thank you! I did see some similarities with your post the other day about PPS.

      I think the fact that I look *exactly* the same as I did when I was three is also a sign I shouldn’t be an adult.

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